Should boys get a bigger slice of school funding?

May 17, 2016 by

Some of the lowest achievers are boys – but spending more money on their education could mean storing up imbalances for the future

Do we care enough about boys’ under-achievement to spend more on their education? That’s the question delegates were asked at a recent conference. I faltered as I pondered: do I care?

School funding normally isn’t up for discussion, so the question would be hypothetical, but the government is embarking on a serious attempt to change the way it pays schools. Instead of heads receiving funds allocated by a local body, the plan is to create a national funding formula – a sort of programmed super-cash calculator into which a school leader can plug their pupils’ details and the amount due will pop out the other side.

But what should go into this new school formula? This is the big debate. Proposals so far include extra for poorer pupils and small schools, alongside money for expensive school buildings and a few other things, all of which is then multiplied by an “area cost” factor. This almost certainly means the expensive south will get some kind of bonus on top of each pupil’s funding, whereas schools in the north will lose out because teachers there are expected to find cheaper houses.

Hidden among the plans, however, is a benign sounding “low prior achievement” factor that will give extra cash to pupils who receive low scores in their tests at primary school. Given that only 7% of pupils with low attainment at the age of 11 go on to pass five GCSEs – and we know that a lack of GCSEs is one of the highest predictors of future joblessness – this factor is a sensible attempt at doling out cash while schools can still turn things around.

Source: Should boys get a bigger slice of school funding? | Education | The Guardian

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